NHS nurse's heart-breaking poetry reveals pandemic struggle
- Credit: Simon Finlay Photography
He worked through back-breaking shifts in an attempt to save critically ill and dying patients during the Covid pandemic.
And as a way to get through the darkest periods, Piers Harrison-Reid, a critical care nurse from the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH), turned to his major passion - poetry.
Mr Harrison-Reid said: "The past two years of the pandemic have contained some of the worst shifts I've ever had in my life.
"At times we were fighting for staff, space and even basic protective equipment.
"We had to completely reorganise the hospital to deal with the peaks of the pandemic and I moved to work for a month in the critical care area for the sickest Covid patients.
"I ended up briefly taking care of one of my colleagues who passed away from Covid. Emotionally it wore a lot of people down."
The 28-year-old moved to Norwich aged 19 to study nursing at the University of East Anglia and now lives in Dereham Road.
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He has performed his poetry since he was 16.
He has joined forces with Norwich Theatre for its What's Past is Prologue review online publication, which celebrates how the arts venue found innovative ways to generate creative experiences for the community since March 2020.
The poet's work has been recorded and can be viewed on the theatre's website www.norwichtheatre.org through The Passions of Pandemic project.
Mr Harrison-Reid added: "I enjoyed hearing the passion Norwich Theatre had for live art, especially in difficult times. Writing the pieces was a long and drawn-out struggle.
"I wanted to find a balance between the chaos in my working life and my love of art.
"Without art many of our lives can feel hollow or lacking. Audiences should expect a simple premise of what art means to us."
Stephen Crocker, chief executive and creative director of Norwich Theatre which is an umbrella organisation for Stage Two, Norwich Theatre Royal and Norwich Playhouse, said:"Piers’ incredible poetry is an important part of healing from the pandemic.
"We hope it celebrates how, with the support of many people and partners, we were able to meet restrictions with creativity and bravery."